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Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei

by Pain Not Bread, Andy Patton, Kim Maltman, Roo Borson

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Introduction to the Introduction to the Introduction by André Alexis

For me, reading the Introduction was like being caught in a spring shower while waiting for the 41, and running into a library to get out of the rain and, because the rain lasts, wandering the aisles on the fifth floor, taking books from the shelves (Waley’s translations from the Chinese, a work by Roland Barthes, an oversized book about eastern birds…), draping my winter coat on a chair and sitting down to read.

My coat smells of wet coconut matting, and the library is warm, and I fall asleep, my head on the desk, and dream about a strange library filled with impossibly rare and impossibly beautiful works: Waley on birds, Barthes’ translations from the Chinese, an oversized book about rain…

And when I wake, moments later, after what seems like hours, I have the momentary and vivid conviction that, if I listened properly, I could translate water into any language at all.

Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton. In Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, they occupy the border created by translation, allusion and echo, and make it into habitable space, a place where the subtle sensitivities of poets from the troubled late Tang Dynasty (Wang Wei, Li Bai, Du Fu, …) blend with our own millennial anxieties. What do poets do in a difficult time? It’s as though Pain Not Bread were talking and drinking with their Tang contemporaries on some old rickety ferry making its way back and forth between English and Chinese, Chinese and English, in the process weaving together a music of supreme nuance and tonal registration, a mode of speaking and feeling which is “undisfigured by sentiment” and yet riddled with its own mortality.

Awards

Pain Not Bread: Earle Birney Prize for Poetry, 2000
Pain Not Bread: Finalist and Honourable Mention, National Magazine Awards, 1998
Pain Not Bread: Winner, Malahat Long Poem Competition, 1993
Pain Not Bread: Finalist, National Magazine Awards, 1993

 

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About the Author

Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton. In Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei, they occupy the border created by translation, allusion and echo, and make it into habitable space, a place where the subtle sensitivities of poets from the troubled late Tang…

More about Pain Not Bread

Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton.  Andy Patton is a painter whose works are included in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and various private collections. He represented Canada in the Biennale of Sydney in 1984. A lover…

More about Andy Patton

Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton. Kim Maltman was born in Medicine Hat and grew up in a small town nearby He has previously published six books of poetry, and has given readings across Canada, in Australia, and in the United States.…

More about Kim Maltman

Pain Not Bread is a collaborative writing group formed in 1990 by Roo Borson, Kim Maltman and Andy Patton. Roo Borson has previously published nine books of poetry, as well as a number of essays and other pieces of non-fiction. She has served as a writer-in-residence at several major Canadian universities, and has given readings across…

More about Roo Borson

Additional Info

  • ISBN: 1894078098
  • ISBN-13: 9781894078092
  • Pages: 128
  • Year: 2000
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.75 x 0.31 in
  • Category: ,
  • Cover Art:

    Pain Not Bread seal carved by Yin Guwen. A detail from The Classic of Filial Piety, Bei Lin (The Forest of Stone Stelae), Xi'an; photo credit Zhao Xiangji. Scanned images from the Three Hundred Poems from Tang, containing, in part, Wang Wei's "Farewell" and a short biography.

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